The Metabolic Approach to Cancer: Integrating Deep Nutrition, the Ketogenic Diet, and Nontoxic Bio-Individualized Therapies

By Nasha Winters ND FABNO LAc and Jess Higgins Kelley MNT
This book is the standard for using diet, therapies and bioindividual strategies in an integrated way to heal from cancer. The metabolic approach of which the authors write is based on controlling blood-sugar levels - because sugar feeds cancer - and also includes what the authors call the Terrain Ten elements to help the body heal. This truly integrative approach takes into account epigenetics, toxicity, immune dysregulation, the microbiome, inflammation, hormonal imbalances, stress and more. We highly recommend this book as a must-have for those wishing to understand how to heal from cancer.

The Metabolic Approach to Cancer was written with the goal of empowering cancer patients. One of the authors, Nasha Winters, is a decades-long survivor of end-stage ovarian cancer, with which she was diagnosed at the age of 19. Facing the possible end of her life as a newly minted adult, Dr. Winters quickly learned about integrative approaches to cancer including a traditional whole-foods diet and complementary medicine. These strategies are discussed in the book, and she is living proof of their potential efficacy.

What Causes Cancer?

A 2008 study, Cancer Is a Preventable Disease That Requires Major Lifestyle Changes, demonstrated that 90-95% of cancers can be attributed to unhealthy diet and lifestyle factors. In other words, your “DNA is not your destiny.” This statistic can be a motivating factor to patients that want to empower themselves to make these changes, and this is the goal of the book.

The writers state that “The root cause of cancer is actually damaged mitochondria.” While genetics can control the rate at which mitochondria can be damaged, it’s empowering to know that there are workarounds to DNA mutations such as the MTHFR mutation. (In this particular case, the workaround is eating leafy green vegetables and taking methylated B vitamins and other methylated supplements.) In addition, it’s empowering to know that mitigating and correcting lifestyle factors such as circadian rhythm, toxin exposure, sleep quality, movement, stress, microbiome imbalances and more can dramatically improve the body’s healing response.

Why the Metabolic Approach Is Key

The central thesis of the book is “Cancer is not a genetic disease but instead a metabolic disorder that occurs in response to how we are feeding and treating our bodies and therefore our genomes.” When cancer is looked at through this lens, it quickly becomes apparent that dietary changes are necessary. Because sugar feeds cancer (the Warburg effect), it follows that eliminating sugar and controlling blood glucose are paramount to halting cancer.

Fat cannot be used by cancer cells, so the ketogenic diet is a powerful diet for cancer patients to implement. By itself, it is not the cure for cancer, but it can help with stopping angiogenesis and controlling cachexia. To this day, we are still stunned by the fact that cancer-treatment centers often give their patients sugary treats. Winters and Kelley write that “low-glycemic, ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting should be an integral part of an effective anticancer diet program.”

What’s Included in the Book

It’s empowering to know that “Cancer treatment does not have to be ‘either-or’”. The metabolic approach can be used in conjunction with conventional treatments of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. The ketogenic diet is not the only tool that can be used (and if you do choose to follow this diet, please work with a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner, such as one from the Metabolic Terrain Institute of Health, founded by Dr. Winters).

In addition to addressing some of the particulars about the ketogenic diet, the book includes a quiz to assess your Terrain Ten™ risk factors such as:

Other information included in the book includes:

  • Helpful lab tests such as HbA1C, fasting glucose, IGF-1, fasting insulin, fibrinogen, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), serum copper, ceruloplasmin, ferritin and ketones
  • An overview of common carcinogens and their exposure sources
  • A guide to foods that can help with detoxification
  • Therapies such as saunas, hyperthermia, mistletoe, forest bathing, hydrotherapy, grounding and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
  • Common nutrient deficiencies such as vitamins A, C and D, B vitamins, selenium, magnesium and zinc
  • Common medications such as acetaminophen, antibiotics and acid-reflux remedies that can be contributing to immune dysregulation
  • Immune-boosting foods such as medicinal mushrooms
  • Debunking of common anti-cancer diets such as the Budwig diet, the acid-alkaline diet and the vegan diet
  • Helpful antioxidant foods, supplements and spices
  • Foods and culinary herbs that inhibit angiogenesis and metastasis
  • Tips for cleaning out and restocking your kitchen

In Conclusion

If there is only one book that you buy to learn more about healing from cancer, we believe that The Metabolic Approach to Cancer should be your first choice. This book is an excellent reference for those empowered people who are willing to make the book’s recommended dietary and integrative changes. However, you should only make these changes with the help of your doctor and your other healthcare practitioners; it does not replace your relationship with them.

About Nasha Winters ND FABNO LAc

Dr. Nasha Winters is a global healthcare authority in integrative cancer care and research consulting with physicians around the world. She is the best-selling author of The Metabolic Approach to Cancer: Integrating Deep Nutrition, the Ketogenic Diet, and Nontoxic Bio-Individualized Therapies. She has educated hundreds of professionals in the clinical use of mistletoe and has created robust educational programs for both healthcare institutions and the public on incorporating vetted integrative therapies in cancer care to enhance outcomes.

Dr. Winters is currently focused on opening a comprehensive metabolic oncology hospital and research institute in the U.S. where the best that standard of care has to offer and the most advanced integrative therapies will be offered. This facility will be in a residential setting on a gorgeous campus against a backdrop of regenerative farming, EMF mitigation and retreat. You can find out more about her at her websites and

Nasha Winters ND FBANO

About Jess Higgins Kelley MNT ONC

Jess is a Master Nutrition Therapist, Oncology Nutrition Consultant, teacher, writer, and nutrition education program developer. An Oncology Nutrition Consultant for over a decade, Jess has extensive experience working with cancer and chronic illness clients from around the globe.

She is also the co-author of two books, The Metabolic Approach to Cancer: Integrating Deep Nutrition, the Ketogenic Diet, and Nontoxic Bio-Individualized Therapies (Chelsea Green Publishing, May 2017) and Bioregulatory Medicine: An Innovative Holistic Approach to Self-Healing (Chelsea Green Publishing, November 2018).

Jess is the Founder and Director at the Oncology Nutrition Institute which provides online certification programs for professionals and education for the public in therapeutic metabolic nutrition. An avid researcher and student, Jess has completed certifications in Environmental Medicine through the University of Arizona Medical School, Nutrigenomics through Nutrition Genome, Endocrinology and Blood Chemistry Analysis through Apex Energetics, Scientific Phytotherapy through alchemlife, and Methylation and Clinical Nutrigenomics through Bastyr University. Jess was an instructor at the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver, Colorado from 2011-2017 and believes strongly in empowerment through education.

She holds a B.A. in Journalism from Western Colorado University and has written health and nutrition articles for a variety of local and national publications including Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine and is the former managing editor of Edible Southwest Magazine. Formerly a sea captain and lead Hurricane Island Outward Bound Instructor, Jess strongly believes in physical activity and spending as much time as possible outdoors connecting with nature. When not writing, teaching, or consulting with clients, Jess is trail running, skiing, surfing, sailing, doing yoga, gardening or spending time with her family. You can find out more about her work at her website

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